W
hen some people think of freelancers working from home, they have ideas of sleeping in late and long lunches while still wearing their pajamas…

Admit it, that does sound pretty good, right?

Whilst working from home does offer huge flexibility, it is still a job and needs to be approached with professionalism.

Getting into bad habits is easy, but getting back out of them? Not so much.

No, it is far better to start as you mean to go on — and your productivity levels will thank you for it.

So start your home working life as a freelancer as though you were in someone else’s office because if you start to slip, your clients are going to notice and that’ll do you no good at all.

Man sitting at a computer desk
(Image by Kreatikar from Pixabay)

Whatever line of business you’re in, there’s no escaping the fact that you’ll need software to power your home office and your business.

Think about it — when was the last time a handwritten invoice dropped through your letterbox? Or any kind of business communication, for that matter?

Invoices are normally emailed, and these invoices are created with, you guessed it, invoicing software. But there are several other pieces of software, both off and online, that you need to keep in mind.

Freelancers typically operate on tight budgets, and if that’s you, then you already know that you don’t want to spend a small fortune on software. So here’s a brief list of the main types of software you might need, what they do, and how much they might cost (if anything).

LibreOffice is a free office suite that includes:

  • Word Processing
  • Databases
  • Spreadsheets
  • Presentations

It’s really easy to use. In fact, if you’ve used any Microsoft Office software this will feel very familiar. LibreOffice is also fully compatible with Microsoft Office files.

QuickFile is a SaaS (Software as a Service) product, which means there are no downloads to contend with — everything is done in your web browser.

One of the great things about this software is that it’s a complete service for small to medium-sized businesses. When you consider that more well-known services are fee-based and offer the same (and sometimes less) than QuickFile, then this is quite remarkable.

Asana is your best friend when it comes to project management. If you have a team of people that you work with remotely, then whiteboards and post-it notes are not going to be helpful.

Connect all of your project work in one neat place and get your team organized, from anywhere in the world. From lists to boards, calendars to Gantt charts — you can organize your project your way.

The basic package for Asana is completely free and is designed for smaller teams, with monthly fees applying for larger requirements that start at £9.49.

Calendar icons
(Image by No-longer-here from Pixabay)

You have your home office setup, you have your software… What’s next? Well, getting yourself organized is extremely important, for what should be pretty obvious reasons.

As work starts to fly in, and it will, it’s easy to lose track of where you’re up to — you might lose clients and money because you forgot you had job #23423 for client Smith to do.

Asana (see above) is going to help enormously here, and there’s also a mobile app (iOS and Android) so you can add projects, and tasks to projects, on the fly.

You should manage the rest of your day too, taking care of important tasks first (replying to emails, for instance) and leaving other less important things for when you have time.

Creating a flexible schedule for the week ahead is a great way to do this.

Of course, you need to keep your work area free of clutter too, as this will help with productivity.

While we are at it, it’s worth mentioning you should set realistic timescales for completing projects and milestones… then maybe add an extra couple of days.

You have to make sure that you leave yourself breathing room. Work is great, but so is your home life — make sure you leave space for both.

Freelancer in their home office
(Image by Kreatikar from Pixabay)

The freelance life is pretty great when you get yourself set up and organized properly. If you don’t, then it can be hectic and stressful. Freelancing offers a great deal of freedom, but that can be thrown away if you don’t get started the right way.

We wish you every success.